Description/achievement of initiative
The overall goal of the UNEP Global Mercury Partnership is to protect human health and the global environment from the release of mercury and its compounds by minimizing and, where feasible, ultimately eliminating global, anthropogenic mercury releases to air, water and land.
The Partnership currently has eight identified Priorities for Action (or partnership areas) that are reflective of the major source categories:
Reducing Mercury in Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining
- Support government efforts in setting national objectives/reduction targets for ASGM.
- Eliminate the worst practices in ASGM.
- Explore innovative market-based approaches to enable the transition away from mercury.
Mercury Control from Coal Combustion
- Support globally significant emissions reduction though existing multi-poluttant reduction approaches.
- Providing technically sound information on cost effective appoaches for enhancing reductions of mercury emissions, particularly for developing nations and countries with economies in transition.
Mercury Reduction in the Chlor-alkali Sector
- Mercury cell chlor-alkali production is a significant user of mercury and a Mercury source of mercury releases to the environment. The mercury used in this process acts as a catalyst in the chlorine production process. Best practices, such as proper waste management, can minimize the release of mercury. Mercury-free technologies are also available in chlor-alkali production.
- According to data compiled by the Global Mercury Partnership, some 100 facilities in 44 nations today have some industrial mercury cell chlorine capacity. After accounting for pledges and plans for future closure in the European Union, India and the United States of America, 55 plants will remain in 24 countries.
- Mercury cell production facilities that close or convert to mercury-free technologies require environmentally sound management of mercury surplus and waste.
Mercury Reduction in Products
- Transition success has been demonstrated in thermometers, switches and relays, batteries other than button cells, thermostats, HID auto discharge lamps, and sphygmomanometers.
- Affordable alternatives to mercury are available for most products, but commercially cost effective alternatives for mercury in batteries and lamps are needed. Good practices in dental care can also reduce mercury releases.
- Reducing mercury in products may be the most effective means to control mercury in waste. Sound management should consider all stages of the product’s life-cycle. Clear regulation can prompt manufacturers to produce mercury-free products.
Mercury Air Transport and Fate Research
- Fate and Transport Partnership Area aims to increase a global understanding of mercury emission sources,fate and transport by:
. Accelerating the development of sound scientific information in global mercury cycling and its patterns;
. Enhancing compilation and sharing of such information among various stakeholders;
. Providing technical assistance and training;
. Enhancing the development of a globally-coodinated mercury observation system including air and water ecoystems.
. Enhancing the exchange of information and cooperation with relevant International Organizations,Groups and Programmes.
Mercury Waste Management
- The management of mercury and mercury-containing waste is the last step in the product life-cycle.
- The elimination of mercury in products and processes may be the most efficient way to avoid the presence of any form of mercury in waste.
- While mercury is being phased down from products and processes, there is still a need to manage mercury from this end of the product life-cycle.
Mercury Supply and Storage
- Mercury is an element and cannot be destroyed. Policies designed to decrease the production, use and trade of mercury must be accompanied by access to viable, safe and secure long term storage.
- The limited sources of mercury supply globally allow targeted action in this area. Export controls and storage are main instruments to reduce supply. Transparency of trade is also essential for future success in limiting global supply. Primary mining is not required to meet global market demand.
- Investing in supply, trade, and storage issue is more efficient than trying to control mercury release.
Mercury Cement Industry
- The Objective of the Partnership Area:
. Minimize mercury releases to the environment from cement manufacture
. Supplement existing programmes in key, strategically selected ways to ensure that reductions are globally significant.
. Support such efforts while providing additional information on cost-effective approaches for enhancing reductions of mercury emissions.
- Priority Actions:
. Establish sectoral mercury inventories and baseline scenarios for the industry.
. Encourage use of most appropriate technique to reduce or minimize mercury releases into the environment.
. Increase the awareness of the cement industry to mercury as a pollutant through increased outreach efforts.
(a) Enhancing capacity for mercury storage;
(b) Reducing the supply of mercury from, for example, primary mercury mining;
(c) Conducting awareness-raising and pilot projects in key countries to reduce mercury use in artisanal and small-scale gold mining;
(d) Reducing mercury use in products and processes and raising awareness of mercury-free alternatives;
(e) Providing information on best available techniques and best environmental practices and on the conversion of mercury-based processes to non-mercury based processes;
(f) Enhancing development of national inventories on mercury;
(g) Raising public awareness and supporting risk communication;
(h) Providing information on the sound management of mercury;
To become a partner, interested entities or individuals should submit a letter to UNEP signifying their support for the UNEP Global Mercury Partnership and their commitment to achieving its goal, and specifying how they will contribute to meeting the goal of the UNEP Global Mercury Partnership.
Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer
Coordination mechanisms/governance structure
Italy (Italian National Research Council (CNR) - Institute for Atmospheric Pollution)
Syrian Arab Republic
United States of America
United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)
World Health Organization (WHO)
Non Governmental Organizations
Asociación Argentina de Médicos por el Medio Ambiente (AAMMA)
Action d'Etude et de Valorisation de l'Environnement (ACEVE)
Association for Responsible Mining (ARM)
Artisanal Gold Council
Association d'Etude et de mise en valeur des Ressouces Naturelles et des Institutions (ASERNI)
Associazione Malttie da Intossicazione Cronica e/o Ambientale (A.M.I.C.A)
BioDiversity Reseach Institute
Centre de Recherche et d'Education pour le Développement (CREPD)
Centre pour l'Environment et le Dévelopment RDC
Consumers for Dental Choice
Day Hospital Institute for Development & Rehabilitation (DHIDR - Egypt)
Education for All in Africa (EDUCAF)
Environmental Health Council
Environmental Law Institute
European Lamp Companies Federation (ELC)
Grupo Parques Nacionales Panamá / Alianza Contaminación Cero
Health Care Without Harm
International Academy of Biological Dentistry and Medicine (IABDM)
International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology
International Federation of Dental Educators and Associations (IFDEA)
International POP's Elimination Network (IPEN)
Informer, Sensibiliser, Eduquer sur les Polluants Organiques Persistants en Cote d´Ivoire (ISE-POPS-CI)
International Commission on Geosciences for Environmental Management (GEM), a comission of the International Union of Geosciences (IUGS)
International Society of Doctors for the Environment (ISDE)
Kyrgyz Mining Association
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
New World Hope Organization (NWHO)
Pollution control Association of Liberia
Pro-Biodiversity Conservationists in Uganda (PROBICUO)
Responsible Jewellery Council
Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC)
The Money Stone
Uganda Network on Toxic Free Malaria Control (UNETMAC)
World Chlorine Council
World Dental Federation (FDI)
World Medical Association (WMA)
Zero Mercury Working Group
Zoï environment network
ARCADIS US, Inc.
Association of Lighting and Mercury Recyclers (ALMR)
Department of Toxicology Faculty of Chemical Science and Pharmacy (USAC)
EERC (Energy & Environmental Research Center) University of North Dakota)
Environmental Visual Artist
Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland
Geological Survey USA
Great Lakes Solutions
Hg. Recoveries Pty. Ltd.
IEA - Clean Coal Centre
Illinois Institute of Technology Herek L. Clack
Institute for Combustion Science and Environmental Technology (ICSET)
International Association for Dental Research (IADR)
International Dental Manufacturers (IDM)
National Atmospheric Deposition Program
Niksa Energy Associates (NEA)
OIKON - Institute for Applied Ecology
Peerless Green Initiatives
Reaction Engineering International
Scientific Research Institute for Atmospheric Air Protection
State Key Laboratory of Coal Combustion - Huazhong University of Sciences and Technology
TÜV Theinland Immissionsschutz und Energiesysteme GmbH Vosteen Consulting GmbH
University of Stuttgart - IFK
Vosteen Consulting Gmbh Germany
World Coal Association